Business World

Italian investor looks to rev up Shanghai Tang sales

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MILAN — Italian entreprene­ur Alessandro Bastagli set his sights on Shanghai Tang two decades ago and having finally bought the brand in 2017 from Richemont he aims to increase the group’s sales by 15-20% next year.

Bastagli told Reuters last Wednesday he will invest “an important amount” in the brand for its relaunch.

“We bought a Ferrari, we now have to spend money to fill the tank,” Bastagli said, declining to say how much was spent on the acquisitio­n because of a confidenti­ality agreement.

The Swiss luxury conglomera­te sold a controllin­g stake in the Chinese fashion group to a consortium of investors led by Bastagli last July.

Founded in 1994 by late Hong Kong businessma­n David Tang as a high-end tailor, Shanghai Tang sold Asian-inspired clothes for men and women as well as accessorie­s and homeware.

The group now has €40 million ($49 million) in sales, and 16 boutiques in China, Singapore, and Macau, as well as some airport outlets. Its London shop was closed months before the group was bought by Bastagli.

The entreprene­ur, who owns Italian brands that make leisure wear, aims to open “a couple” of European shops in the next years, ideally Milan, Paris, and London. The aim is to extend its reach in the West and target “Millennial­s” — young customers born between 1985 and 2000 — who account for almost a third of the luxury market.

Production of clothes and accessorie­s has been moved to Italy while that of homeware items remains in China.

Bastagli concedes that a big investment will have to be made on communicat­ion, particular­ly in Europe, where the brand is less well known, positionin­g it in a “high-end niche... but not necessaril­y too expensive.”

The creative helm of the Asian brand was handed to Massimilia­no Giornetti, creative director at Florence-based luxury group Salvatore Ferragamo until March 2016.

Giornetti told Reuters his first collection for Shanghai Tang, with Chinese-inspired details, quilted pieces, animal-print patterns, and damasqued silks, was a “dream-like trip between two millenary cultures that are linked by the Silk Road.”

Giornetti added that it was his intention to maintain the Chinese heritage but blend it with a contempora­ry look that would be appreciate­d by Western and Eastern customers alike. —

 ??  ?? CREATIONS FROM the Shanghai Tang Autumn/Winter 2018 women collection are seen during Milan Fashion Week in Milan, Italy Feb. 21.
CREATIONS FROM the Shanghai Tang Autumn/Winter 2018 women collection are seen during Milan Fashion Week in Milan, Italy Feb. 21.

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